Waco factory worker lived for years as U.S. citizen, but wasn’t

Juan Jose Solis-Luna, who was originally jailed under the name of Martin Rodriguez. (Jail photo)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Factory worker Juan Jose Solis-Luna, 50, who lived and worked in Waco for years as a U.S. citizen was actually in the country illegally and using an assumed identity, authorities confirmed Friday.

“This is a prime example of how some of these illegal aliens are abusing our system. They are taking advantage of it anyway they can and this is certainly a classic case of that,” McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said Friday.

Solis-Luna, who has worked for years at VanTran Industries in Waco, was arrested Monday after police determined he was driving with an invalid license following a traffic stop.

He didn’t speak English, but the driver’s license identified him as Martin Rodriguez, and his family later produced a Texas birth certificate that showed he was born in Eagle Pass.

He was booked into the McLennan County Jail under that name on the driver’s license charge and then U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency officials placed him on an immigration detainer.

His family, however, argued that the detainer was unwarranted and insisted that he was a U.S. citizen, a story that held up until an internal fingerprint check proved that Martin Rodriguez wasn’t the man he claimed to be.

He was charged Friday with failure to identify and fraudulent use or possession of identifying information.

He remains jailed in lieu of bonds that now total $7,000 and the immigration detainer remains in place.